Day: February 27, 2020

Cloud outages show multicloud is essential

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark—in all of Europe actually—and Amazon has been tight-lipped about it. It seems there might have been a hack or a well-executed denial-of-service attack. I realize this was in October, but Google autocomplete suggests that “AWS DDoS attack” be followed by a year. These things happen frequently.

Denial-of-service attacks are as old if not older than the internet—and so is the lack of candor on the part of your data center operator or hosting provider. The thing that protected us all in the past from watching the whole net go black is the

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Boosting AI’s smarts in the absence of training data

AI (artificial intelligence) is the most perfect field of dreams in modern culture. If you ask the average person on the street what AI runs on, they probably won’t mention training data. Instead, they might mumble something about computer programs that magically learn how to do useful stuff from thin air.

However, some of today’s most sophisticated AI comes close to that naïve dream. I’m referring to a still-developing approach known as “zero-shot learning.” This methodology—which is being explored at Microsoft, Uber, Baidu, Alibaba, and other AI-driven businesses—enables useful pattern recognition with little or no training

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What fictional alien encounters can teach us about our own reality

The prospect of contacting sentient aliens is a staple of science fiction. Of course, we have yet to (knowingly) find any; and it’s not impossible (albeit unlikely) that we are the only sentient beings in the universe.

Still, speculating about how contact with an alien race might go is something we tend to enjoy. Here are some fictional first contact scenarios and some thoughts on whether they are, at all, plausible.

The massive invasion — Independence Day

I can’t believe this movie was made in 1996. Or rather, I can’t believe how long it’s been since 1996. (Yes, I’m talking

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